The backbone of every successful local Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign is keyword research. Using well-chosen keywords and phrases will ensure that your business’s local Google Ads show up at the right time and in the right place for your target consumers.

Targeted keywords and phrases are especially valuable for local Google Ad targeting because they help eliminate wasted clicks from consumers outside your target area, which saves budget while increasing your chances of reaching eligible customers.

These tips will help you select keywords that attract your target audience, increase click-through rates, and maximize your advertising budget.

Put Yourself In Your Customer’s Shoes

Start by thinking like your target customers. If you were searching for a product or service similar to what your business offers, what would you type into the search bar?

  • What terminology would you use?
  • Are there local words that are relevant to the product or service?
  • What phrases would you avoid because it wouldn’t give you exactly what you’re looking for?
  • What other variations might you type in?

By putting yourself in your potential customers’ shoes, you gain a better understanding of which local terms and phrases to hone in on.

Be Specific and Targeted

Although some keywords may generate a lot of buzz, avoid adding them to your repertoire unless they are explicitly related to your business. Adding unnecessary keywords will raise costs, attract uninterested customers, and ultimately negatively impact your business.

Also, avoid using terms too generic or too wide, as longer phrases are typically more targeted. For example ‘CrossFit Gym Near Me” is going to attract the exact customer base you’re looking for, whereas targeting solely the keyword “gym” is going to be far less successful.

Understand Keyword Matching

Google offers several types of keyword matching – Broad, Phrase, and Exact. Think of a sliding scale.

Broad Matched keywords are the default type of Google Ad matching –  and allows your ads to show on searches related to your keyword, even if the keyword isn’t explicitly used. Using factors such as the user’s recent searches, the content of your landing page, and related keywords, this type of matching delivers relevant matches to curious consumers.

Phrase Matched keywords allow your ads to show in search results that include the meaning of your keyword – even if it’s just implied. This type of matching is more flexible than exact matching but still more targeted than broad matching. Phrase matching allows you to reach more customers while still showing ads to customers searching specifically for your product or service.

Exact Matched keywords are the most narrow and controllable. This type of matching shows your ads only on searches with the same meaning or same intent as your keywords. It also allows you to reach a very targeted audience when displaying your business’ ads.

Exclude Negative Keywords

Just as including meaningful keywords is important, so is excluding negative keywords. By adding a minus sign before a keyword, Google Ads will specifically exclude that keyword from your targeted searches. This approach can be valuable for businesses in situations where the keyword you want to use has multiple meanings or if your business is also the name of something completely unrelated. For example, if you sell cut flowers but not potted plants, you may want to make “potted” a negative keyword.

Tie it Together

Google and other search engines reward relevance, so it’s important to ensure your keyword usage is cohesive across channels. The keywords and phrases used in your targeted ads should be the same as or closely linked to the language used in your headlines, blog posts, social media, and landing pages. This method creates cohesion and relevance across channels, making your targeted Google Ads even more effective!


Keyword research is one of the most important marketing tools for local businesses to leverage. For more help with keyword targeting or running a Google Ad campaign, reach out to a Vivial Digital Media Marketing specialist!